I’m not entirely surprised to see that HMV’s former ‘flagship’ store on Market Street, Manchester is among the 66 stores listed for closure today ,although this will leave HMV with no outlet in a major UK city somewhat famous for it’s music scene and excellent Record Shops.
HMV’s rather opulent, three storey Manchester Megastore is a bit of a sad relic of the 1990s now. When it opened, most of the ground floor was given over to a vast back catalogue of CDs, with the floor downstairs covering Classical, Folk, World music and so forth. All things video were upstairs. This was of course, pre internet, and this was like Amazon.com except you could walk around it..for hours. The independent and second hand shops were always the place to go for the best new stuff, and unusual old stuff but if you wanted to get, say, the complete works of Scott Walker or fill in those gaps in your Cabaret Voltaire collection there they were. It was ace.
Fast forward to 2013 and 90 Market Street is probably far too big for whatever a ‘restructured’ HMV is going to look like, and it occupies what is surely a pretty expensive prime location next to Primark, the Arndale and a busy Tram stop (talk about footfall?!).
The big question mark of course is that HMV still own the Fopp store just around the corner which is not on the closure list yet. Will it remain ‘as is’, or will HMV rebrand it and move its Manchester operations there..or will they be eyeing up other premises for a downsized Manchester store? (notably, there was a ‘pop-up’ HMV occupying two floors of the Arndale in the run up to Xmas 2012).
As an aside, as we have noted before, across the road from the closing-down HMV is ‘That’s Entertainment’ which has been staring out its huge rival for some time now.
If ever there was a monument to the devaluing of the Compact Disc it is that place…shelves groaning with ‘preowned’ copies of The Seahorses ‘Do it Yourself’, Robbie’s ‘Swing When You’re Winning’ and ‘Onka’s Big Moka’ by Toploader probably bought for £12-15 from the shop across the road many moons ago and now, still somewhat overpriced at 3 for £5. This grubby little upstart may well be the last music chain-store standing.